Some Poso residents are urging that the regency be split in two along sectarian lines.
A request to divide the regency into two halves was submitted in a joint declaration at Baruga Torulembah, the home of Poso Regent Piet Inkiriwang. It called on the government to split the regency into a Poso regency, with Tentena as its capital (Christian), and a Poso mayoralty, with Poso city as its centre (Muslim).
Erawanto Timumun, a supporter of the declaration, said to the Jakarta Post that the separation would be a crucial step toward resolving the conflict in Poso.
There have been many attempts to end the Poso conflict, from the Malino agreement to local meetings in villages. But until now, there have been no fruitful results, and it's about time to resort to the last alternative, dividing the town.
The 2001 Malino Declaration, signed by both Christians and Muslims, declared the willingness of both sides to work together and stop the fighting.
The demand to split the regency, Erawanto said, came from a majority of residents in Poso City and Poso Pesisir districts.
The Poso regency and Central Sulawesi administrations have voiced support for the plan. Poso Regent Piet Inkiriwang said that he had hosted the announcement of the declaration at his own home as a sign of approval.
I also assigned several officials to attend the declaration. This is a show of the administration's support.
He said according to the plan, Poso mayoralty would comprise Poso City, South Poso Pesisir, Lage, Poso Pesisir and North Poso Pesisir districts. Poso Kota and Poso Pesisir Utara have around 70% Muslim residents each, while the three other districts have at least 20% Muslim residents.
Meanwhile, Poso regency will cover seven predominantly Christian districts, they being North Pamona, East Pamona, South Pamona, West Pamona, North Lore, Central Lore, and South Lore. See maps.
Central Sulawesi Governor Bandjela Paliudju said that his administration would fully support residents' aspirations, including dividing the regency, in an effort to solve the conflict and ensure lasting peace in the area.
However, he said the move to divide the regency would not be easy and would involve a long process. The demand has to be discussed within the regency and the province as well as in the central government, he added.
There's a need to conduct political meetings at the House of Representatives and the Home Affairs Ministry. So they must be patient.
Of Poso regency's 200,000 residents, about 60-70% are Christian and 20-30% Muslim.
If the plan goes as ahead, it will be the second time for Poso. In 1999, two new regencies, Morowali and Tojo Una-Una, were split off from Poso regency.
Some people have complained about the plan, says the Post. The director of Palu's Freedom Land Foundation, Arianto Sangaji, said that the move to split the regency was wrong and that it would further harm relations between Muslims and Christians in the town.
The demand to divide Poso into a regency and a mayoralty is simply a move to split the power cake between the elite there.
He warned Poso's political elite not to take advantage of the conflict by using civilians to support their goals, and instead urged them to "think clearly" to promote a feeling of togetherness within the community, as well as help the town's economy grow.
Arianto said the division would place one of the religious groups, likely the Muslims, in a weak position. According to data, residents who proposed the split were predominantly Christian, while Muslims have often dominated political roles in the eight districts.
I don’t think this is a good idea, it will set a bad precedent for the rest of the country.
A bad or a good example for the rest of the country?
Mmmm Andrew…the so-called bad precedent has been going on for decades this one shouldn’t be a problem. Very pesimistic aren’t I?
Lets just pray for the souls who die.,we all know that its a hurrible and a barbaric kind of doings but we have nothing to do with it…it had happened and maybe GOD have a plan for them cause everything happened has reason…..though its depressing but lets face the reality that there are some people like them merciless and does not believe in GOD…..hope their government would do such effective action to fix what their country facing as of now and may they attain justice….